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sentment of the man—a quiet, patient, industrious, and most gentlemanly person, commanding the utmost respect and good feeling by his unvarying deportment and ability.
Residing as he did in the country, we never met Mr. Poe in hours of leisure ; but he frequently called on us afterwards at our place of bu... and we met him often in the street-invariably the same sad-mannere, winning and refined gentleman, such as we had always known him. It was by rumor only, up to the day of his death, that we knew of any other development of manner or character. We heard, from one who knew him well, (what should be stated in all mention of his lamentable irregularities,) that, with a single glass of wine, his whole nature was rever
versed, the demon became uppermost, and, though none of the usual signs of intoxication were visible, his will was palpably insane. Possessing his reasoning faculties in excited activity, at such times, and seeking his acquaintances with his wonted look and memory, he easily seemed personating only another phase of his natural character, and was accused, accordingly, of insulting arrogance and bad-heartedness. In this reversed character, we repeat, it was never our chance to see him. We know it from hearsay, and we mention it in connection with this sad infirmity of physical constitution ; which puts it upon very nearly the ground of a temporary and almost irresponsible insanity.
The arrogance, vanity and depravity of heart, of which Mr. Poe was generally accused, seem, to us, referable altogether to this reversed phase of his character. Under that degree of intoxication which only acted upon him by demonizing his sense of truth and right, he doubtless said and did much that was wholly irreconcilable with his better nature; but, when himself
, and as we knew him only, his modesty and unaffected humility, as to his own deservings, were a constant charm to his character. His letters (of which the constant application for autographs has taken from us, we are sorry to confess, the greater portion) exhibited this quality very strongly. In one of the carelessly written notes of which we chance still to retain possession, for instance, he speaks of “The Raven"—that extraordinary poem which electrified the world of imaginative readers, and has become the type of a school of poetry of its own--and, in evident earnest, attributes its success to the few words of commendation with which we had prefaced it in this paper. It will throw light on his sane character to give a literal copy of the note :
' FORDHAM, April 20, 1849. “My dear Willis :— The poem which I enclose, and which I am so vain as to hope you will like, in some respects, has been just published in a paper for which sheer necessity compels me to write, now and then. It pays well as times go-but unquestionably it ought to pay ten prices; for whatever I send it I feel I am consigning to the tomb of the Capulets. The verses accompanying this, may I beg you to take out of the tomb, and bring them to light in the Home Journal If you can oblige me so far as to copy them, I do not think it will be necessary to say “From the '-that would be too bad;-and, perhaps, ‘From a late paper,' would do.
“ I have not forgotten how a good word in season' from you made • The Raven,' and made Ulalume,' (which, by-the way, people have done me the honor of attributing to you)—therefore I would ask you, (if I dared,) to say something of these lines—if they please you.
“Truly yours ever,
“ EDGAR A. PoE.”
In double proof--of his earnest disposition to do the best for himself, and of the trustful and grateful nature which has been denied him-we give another of the only three of his notes which we chance to retain :
FORDHAM, January 22, 1848. My dear Mr. Willis :- I am about to make an effort at re-establishing myself in the literary world, and feel that I may depend upon your aid.
“ My general aim is to start a Magazine, to be called “ The Stylus ;' but it would be useless to me, even when established, if not entirely out of the control of a publisher. I mean, therefore, to get up a Journal which shall be my own, at all points. With this end in view, I must get a list of, at least, five hundred subscribers to begin with :--nearly two hundred I have already. I propose, however, to go South and West, among my personal and literary friends-old college and West Point acquaintances and see what I can do. In order to get the means of taking the first step, I propose to lecture at the Society Library, on Thursday, the 3d of February-and, that there may be no cause of squabbling, my subject shall not be literary at all, I have chosen a broad text—The Universe.'
Having thus given you the facts of the case, I leave all the rest to the suggestions of your own tact and generosity. Gratefully—most gratefully
“ Your friend always,
“ EDGAR A. PoE."
Brief and chance-taken, as these letters are, we think they sufficiently prove the existence of the very qualities denied to Mr. Poe--humility, willingness to persevere, belief in another's kindness, and capability of cordial and grateful friendship! Such he assuredly was when sane. Such only he has invariably seemed to us, in all we have happened personally to know of him, through a friendship of five or six years. And so much easier is it to believe what we have seen and known, than what we hear of only, that we remember him but with admiration and respect--these descriptions of him, when morally insane, seeming to us like portraits, painted in sickness, of a man we have only known in health.
But there is another, more touching, and far more forcible evidence that there was goodness in Edgar A. Poe. To reveal it, we are obliged to venture upon the lifting of the veil which sacredly covers grief and refinement in poverty--but we think it may be excused, if so we can brighten the memory of the poet, even were there not a more needed and immediate service which it may render to the nearest link broken by his death.
Our first knowledge of Mr. Poe's removal to this city was by a call which
we received from a lady who introduced herself to us as the mother of his wife. She was in search of employment for him, and she excused her errand by mentioning that he was ill, that her daughter was a confirmed invalid, and that their circumstances were such as compelled her taking it upon herself. The countenance of this lady, made beautiful and saintly with an evidently complete giving up of her life to privation and sorrowful ten. derness, her gentle and mournful voice urging its plea, her long-forgotten but habitually and unconsciously refined manners, and her appealing and get appreciative mention of the claims and abilities of her son, disclosed at once the presence of one of those angels upon earth that women in adversity can be. It was a hard fate that she was watching over. Mr. Poe wrote with fastidious difficulty, and in a style too much above the popular level to be well paid. He was always in pecuniary difficulty, and, with his sick wife, frequently in want of the merest necessaries of life. Winter after winter, for years, the most touching sight to us, in this whole city, has been that tireless minister to genius, thinly and insufficiently clad, going from office to office with a poem, or an article on some literary subject, to sell-sometimes simply pleading in a broken voice that he was ill, and begging for him-mentioning nothing but that “ he was ill,” whatever might be the reason for his writing nothing--and never, amid all her tears and recitals of distress, suffering one syllable to escape her lips that could convey a doubt of him, or a complaint, or a lessening of pride in his genius and good intentions. Her daughter died, a year and a half since, but she did not desert him. She continued his ministering angel--living with him--caring for him--guarding him against exposure, and, when he was carried away by temptation, amid grief and the loneliness of feelings unreplied to, and awoke from his self-abandonment prostrated in destitution and suffering, begging for him still. If woman's devotion, born with a first love, and fed with human passion, hallow its object, as it is allowed to do, what does not a devotion like this--pure, disinterested and holy as the watch of an invisible spirit-say for him who inspired it ?
We have a letter before us, written by this lady, Mrs. Clemm, on the morning in which she heard of the death of this object her untiring care. It is merely a request that we would call upon her, but we will copy a few of its words--sacred as its privacy is--to warrant the truth of the picture we have drawn above, and add force to the appeal we wish to make for her :
* I have this morning heard of the death of my darling Eddie....... Can you give me any circumstances or particulars.... Oh! do not desert your poor friend in this bitter affliction.... Ask Mr.
to come, as I must deliver a message to him from my poor Eddie. I need not ask you to notice his death and to speak well of him. I know you will. But say what an affectionate son he was to me, his poor desolate mother.".
To hedge round a grave with respect, what choice is there, between the relinquished wealth and honors of the world, and the story of such a woman's unrewarded devotion! Risking what we do, in delicacy, by making it public, we feel--other reasons aside—that it betters the world to make known that there are such ministrations to its erring and gifted. What we have said will speak to some hearts. There are those who will be glad to know how the lamp, whose light of poetry has beamed on their far-away recognition, was watched over with care and pain—that they may send to her, who is more darkened than they by its extinction, some token of their sympathy. She is destitute, and alone. If any, far or near, will send to us what may aid and cheer her through the remainder of her life, we will joyfully place it in her hands.
MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.
HITHERTO I have not written or published a syllable upon the subject of Mr. Poe's life, character, or genius, since I was informed, some ten days after his death, of my appointment to be his literary executor.' I did not suppose I was debarred from the expression of any feelings or opinions in the case by the acceptance of this othee, the duties of which I regarded as simply the collection of his works, and their publication, for the benefit of the rightful inheritors of his property, in a form and manner that would probably have been most agreeable to his own wishes. I would gladly have declined a trust imposing so much labor, for I had been compelled by ül health to solicit the indulgence of my publishers, who had many thousand dollars invested in an unfinished work under my direction; but when I was told by several of Mr. Poe's most intimate friends-among others by the family of Š. D. LEWIS, Esq., to whom in his last years he was under greater obligations than to any or to all others that he bad long been in the habit of expressing a desire that in the event of his death I should be his editor, I yielded to the apparent necessity, and proceeded immediately with the preparation of the two volumes which have heretofore been published. But I had, at the request of the Editor of ? The Tribune," written hastily a few paragraphs about Mr. Poe, which appeared in that paper with the telegraphic commumication
of his death ; and two or three of these paragraphs having been quoted by Mr. N. P. Willis, in his Notice of Mr. Poe, were as a part of that Notice unavoidably reprinted in the volume of the deceased author's
Tales. And my un considered and imperfect, but, as every one who knew its subject readily perceived, very kind article, was now vehemently attacked. A writer under the signature of "GEORGE R. GRAHAM," in a sophomorical and trashy but widely circulated Letter, denounced it as "the fancy sketch of a jaundiced vision," "an immortal infamy," and its composition a "breach of trust." And to excuse his five months' silence, and to induce a belief that he did not know that what I had written was already published before I could have been advised that I was to be Mr. Poe's executor, (a condition upon which all the possible force of his Letter depends,) this silly and ambitious person, while represented as entertaining a friendship really passionate in its tenderness for the poor author, of whom in four years of his extremest poverty he had not purchased for his magazine a single line,) is made to say that in half a year he had not seen so noticeable an article,-though within a week after Mr. POE's death it appeared in "The Tribune,” in “ The Home Journal,” in three of the daily papers of his own city, and in “The Saturday Evening Post," of which he was or had been himself one of the chief proprietors and editors! And Mr. JOHN NEAL, too, who had never had even the slightest personal acquaintance with PoE in his life, rushes from a sleep which the public had trusted was eternal, to declare that my characterization of Poe (which he is pleased to describe as poetry, exalted poetry, poetry of astonishing and original strength ") is false and malicious, and that I am a “calumniator," a "Rhadamanthus,” etc. Both these writers-JOHN NEAL following the author of the Letter signed “GEORGE R. GRAHAM”-not only assume what I have shown to be false, (that the remarks on Poe's character were written by me as his executor,) but that there was a long, intense, and implacable enmity betwixt Poe and myself, which disqualified me for the office of his biographer. This scarcely needs an answer after the poet's dying request that I should be his editor; but the manner in which it has been urged, will, I trust, be a sufficient excuse for the following demonstration of its absurdity.
My acquaintance with Mr. PoE commenced in the spring of 1841. He called at my hotel, and not finding me at home, left two letters of introduction. The next morning I visited him, and we had a long conversation about literature and literary men, pertinent to the subject of a book, "The Poets and l'oetry of America," which I was then preparing for the press. The following letter was sent to me a few days afterwards :
PHILADELPHIA, March 29. R. W. Griswold, Esq., My Dear Sir: On the other leaf I send such poems as I think my best, from which you can select any which please your fancy. I should be proud to see one or two of them in your book. The one called " The Haunted Palace” is that of which I spoke in reference to Professor Longfellow's plagiarism. I first published the “H. P.” in Brooks's “Museum," a monthly journal at Baltimore, now dead. Afterwards, I embodied it in a tale called "The House of Usher," in Burton's magazine. Here it was, I suppose, that Professor Longfellow saw it; for, about six weeks afterwards, there appeared in the “Southern Literary Messenger” a poem by him
called “The Beleaguered City,” which may now be found in his volume. The identity in title is striking ; for by " The Haunted Palace" I mean to imply a mind haunted by phantoms--a disordered brain--and by the “ Beleaguered City" Prof. L. means just the same. But the whole tournure of the poem is based upon mine, as you will see at once. Its allegorical conduct, the style of its versification and expression--all are mine. I understood you to say that you meant to preface each set of poems by some biographical notice, I have ventured to send you the above memoranda-the particulars of which (in a case where an author is so little known as myself) might not be easily obtained elsewhere. “The Coliseum " was the prize poem alluded to.
With high respect and esteem, I am your obedient servant, EDGAR A. POE. The next is without date :
My Dear Sir: -I made use of your name with Carey & Hart, for a copy of your book, and am writing a review of s, which I shall send to Lowell for “ The Pioneer." I like it decidedly. It is of immense importance, as a guide to what we have done ; but you have permitted your good nature to influence you to a degree: I would have omitted at least a dozen whom you have quoted, and I can think of five or six that should have been in. But with all its faults--you see I am perfectly frank with you—it is a better book than any other man in the United States could have made of the materials. This I will say.
With high respect, I am your obedient servant, EDGAR A. Por. The next refers to some pecuniary matters:
PHILADELPHIA, June 11, 1843. Peterson says you suspect me of a curious anonymous letter. I did not write it, but bring it along with you when
:. . you make the visit you promised to Mrs. Clemm. I will try to fix that matter soon. Could you do anything with my note ?
E, A. P. We had no further correspondence for more than a year. In this period he delivered a lecture upon “The Poets and Poetry of America,” in which my book under that title was, I believe, very sharply reviewed. In